Aug. Gardening Checklist: Ferns, Lawns & More
With the help of many gardening friends I have attempted to offer on these pages some useful information to help you with your own garden. Gardening is sharing. Any corrections, comments or suggestions are appreciated and will improve future information. Ferns, Lawns, Groundcovers and more are the focus of this NoteStream. Also see our NoteStreams on Flowering Plants, Fruit Trees, Edibles, and more.
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The information, dates and techniques in this blog are as accurate as I can currently offer. During the past three decades I have cared for, nurtured and observed tens of thousands of plants.
With the help of many gardening friends I have attempted to offer on these pages some useful information to help you with your own garden. Gardening is sharing. Any corrections, comments or suggestions are appreciated and will improve future information.
Continue irrigating most varieties regularly according to the weather.
Delicate varieties appreciate an occasional misting of the foliage, especially during warm, dry or windy periods. Continue fertilizing. Use a mild, organic fertilizer on ferns and alternate periodically with an acid type, especially in high pH soil. For most common varieties try blood meal alternated every third feeding with Cottonseed Meal.
Keep checking for pests. Scale can be a problem and often goes undetected. It is often associated with ants, which need to be controlled as a part of any treatment program. On other ferns, especially staghorns, check carefully for signs of spider mites.
Golden Strawberry Groundcover
Cool season groundcovers are showing heat stress. Keep them irrigated and mulched to help them through these warm months.
Warm season groundcovers are growing and blooming. Keep them irrigated as the weather warms.
Remember, cool-season lawns (fescue/Marathon, ryegrass, bluegrass) should be mowed about a half an inch higher in the warm months than in the cool months.
Keep the mower at this higher setting for one more month. It’s too late to attempt to plant new cool-season lawns; wait for another month or two. Continue feeding warm-season lawns into the fall months. For the next couple of months continue reducing the dosage of fertilizer by half to cool-season lawns. Too much fertilizer right now, during the warm weather, will make these cool-season turfs very susceptible to various diseases.
This is still a good month to plant warm-season lawns (hybrid bermudagrass, St. Augustine, etc.) from sod, just keep them well watered.
Most warm-season grasses do not grow from seed and are best only installed from sod. Crabgrass is at it growing peak over the next month or two and the clumps are easy to notice in lawns. It will also be setting seed in the next couple of months that will potentially ensure an even larger problem next year.
For small infestations water the lawn and then hand pull the clumps – they will remove fairly easily in the soggy soil. For larger infestations use a selective herbicide with the ingredient “MSMA”. Follow label directions carefully.
A few grasses will begin developing seed heads already, although most are still at least a month away.
These seed heads can be quite ornamental and are one of the most ornamental aspects of these plants. Some grasses may want to re-seed either in your garden or even into an adjacent wild area. If this as an issue, prune these seed heads off before the heads are fully ripe to prevent the seeds from dispersing.
Shrubs & Vines
In areas adjacent to brushland and wild spaces this is a good time to reduce your fuel in the event of a brushfire.
Remove shrubbery and weeds that have grown too near the house. This fall, consider planting fire resistant groundcover and other plants as a buffer against fires.
(See also the information under Azaleas, Camellias, Gardenias, Hydrangeas and others)
(See also the information under Avocados, Citrus, Deciduous Fruit Trees and Subtropical Fruits here)
Deep water as needed according to the tree species, its age and the weather. This is a good month to “leach” the root zone beneath salt-sensitive species like Japanese Maples. This is accomplished by flood irrigating the soil very heavily and repeating it several times until the accumulated salts in the root zone are washed away from the roots.
Many trees may be suckering heavily now. Remove these suckers below ground by pulling them. If you cannot pull them, dig them to the point where they are attached to the tree and cut them flush with the root or trunk, leaving no “stub”.
Many trees may be in bloom now, including Crape Myrtle, certain Coral Trees, Chinese Flame Trees, Cassia, Eucalyptus ficifolia and others. Enjoy their bloom.
Tropicals & Subtropicals
(See also the information under Avocados, Citrus and Subtropical Fruits here)
Keep feeding now with a general-purpose organic fertilizer. Most tropicals and sub-tropicals have a higher need for trace minerals like iron, zinc, manganese and others. Organic fertilizers generally contain lots of these trace minerals and work especially well in the warm soil temperatures present now.
These are all growing well and many, but not all, are in bud or bloom now. This is still a good month to plant or transplant palms and cycads.
This is also a good time to plant these heat lovers. However, they will need to be kept well watered to help them get established. Watering should be frequent now. Remember, most tropicals and sub-tropicals need quick soil drainage.